I first noticed the doll leaning up against a child’s grave back in August. The doll was a bit faded and weather-beaten even then, so it has been standing at the grave for some time now. The child died in 1862, so the doll could not have been left by someone who knew her. I like the fact that whoever cuts the grass has left the doll in place.
After last night’s snow storm, temperatures rose above forty degrees. This afternoon, Carol and I took a long walk. We wound up in Riverside Cemetery, where we were especially interested in the nineteenth century gravestones.
In Salem, Massachusetts, yesterday, we spent a half an hour wandering around the old burying ground. There are some seventeenth and eighteenth century stones there, and I could have spent a couple of hours looking at them. While I’m most interested in the carving, the inscription on one of the stones caught my attention:
In Memory of
Miss SALLY GRANT,
daughter of Cap. SAMUEL
& Mrs. ELIZABETH GRANT,
who died Sept. 16th 1789:
in the 26th year of her age.
I long[,] she faintly cries[,] to lose my breath
And gently sink into th’embrace of death
Adiue [sic] vain World[,] a long adiue[,] I go
Where joys that have no bound forever flow.
I have been unable to find a source for the short verse on this gravestone. It sounds like it might be a verse from a late eighteenth century spiritual song or hymn, perhaps remembered not quite accurately.
This gravestone, commemorating John Safford who died in 1782, stands in the old burying ground off the town common in Harvard, Massachusetts. The poetry at the bottom is two verses from Isaac Watts’s metrical version of Psalm 39:3, part three. As rendered by the gravestone carver, it reads as follows:
Crush’d as a moth beneath thy hands
We moulder to the dust;
Our feeble pou’rs can ne’er withstand
And all our beuty’s lost.
This mortal life decays apace
How soon the bubble’s broke
Adam and all his numerous Race
Are vanity and smoke.